It seems like only yesterday that we were on our way to the IDF recruitment base to deliver our elder son to begin his military service. Ten months have since passed, and he has thankfully found his path in the military jungle. He continues to seek out ways to make his service as meaningful and effective as possible, in order to allow the State of Israel to get the best out of him that he can offer. I now find myself back in a similar situation, and on my way to deliver my younger son for the start of his military service.
The fact that I now have a slightly better understanding of the military, does not make the second time around any easier. I feel the same fears, concerns and trepidations now that I felt on the first occasion. I am still worried for his well-being, and concerned that he will find his way to ensure that he can make his contribution to his country and to his people in the best possible way. The thing that has changed on this second occasion, is the level of pride that I feel. This has now been doubled.
I feel immense pride in my sons for the way in which they have approached their military obligation. They have understood the importance of every Israeli boy and girl being recruited to defend their country and their people. Together with their friends, these young men have decided that they will fulfil the obligation to serve their country, and have decided to do it willingly and to the best of their ability. Thousands of young men and women will be joining the military over the course of the next few weeks, and will give their time and energy to ensure the well-being of the State of Israel. All of these young people have witnessed the threats that the State of Israel has been forced to live under in recent times, and understand the importance of having a strong army to counter these threats. Many of them have visited concentration camps such as Auschwitz, that bear testament to the consequences of not having a strong Jewish army to defend our people. They have resolved not to allow these events to repeat themselves while we have the ability to defend ourselves with a strong army.
Israelis and Jews around the world are indeed fortunate to have a young generation of the type that Israel has. These young people are not only seeking ways to fulfil their obligation in a minimalist way. They are happy to volunteer to be members of elite units, and to take on the toughest and most dangerous of jobs in maintaining freedom for Israelis and Jews. These jobs require training that is extremely demanding, and frequently put our young men and women in harm’s way. This does not deter them from agreeing to these conditions, and even frequently signing up to serve for more time than the law requires if this is what it takes.
For you, my son, today is a day that will change your life. The time that lies ahead of you will ask the most difficult questions of your physical and mental strength. I know that you are up to the task, and I have every confidence in you. I know that you and your friends will do a great job in defending our land and our people. You understand the consequences are of not having our own army, and you will keep this in the back of your mind when you are having hard days. All I can offer is to be there for you in every way I can. I will be available to you at all times of the day and night, and I will be ready to do anything and everything in order to give you the support that you need. We will eagerly await every moment that you will be allowed to spend time with us at home.
I wish you a successful period of service that will contribute to your personal growth, and that will give you a sense that you have made your contribution to your country and your people. May Hashem protect you in all that you do, wherever you are. You are true heroes for Israelis and for Jews around the world.
Even though the level of my anxiety is doubled today with the start of your service, my pride is equally doubled. Go well, and return home safely.